I’m 46. I sit at a desk all morning, I attend CrossFit OldTown at lunch, then I sit at a desk all afternoon. It is a perfect blueprint for stiffness, soreness and post-workout pain. Which keeps me on the constant lookout for relief in addition to my daily mobility from Mobility WOD. I have tried so many ways, and I will pretty much try anything. Maybe you’ve tried some, or all of these. Perhaps there are even some that I haven’t yet thought of. So let’s review.
Of course I need yoga. It is the opposite of the workouts that I do, no doubt it could help. I’ve tried yoga; but it never takes. I am so completely inflexible that I easily get frustrated and don’t enjoy the slow struggle for progress. And while yoga is all about working at your own pace and to your own abilities, I cannot help but get caught up in how my neighbor’s downward dog is looking vs. my own. I assure you, theirs is better. So despite the promise of improvement over time, I cannot commit. Yoga is the aspirational equivalent of cleaning out the attic. Maybe tomorrow.
- Thai Massage
There is a guy at our gym that moved away and got trained up in the art of Thai Massage. After posting many, many tantalizing photos of his travels and classmates, he returned and started to practice. Thai Massage is not so much a massage as someone applying pressure to and contorting your body to stretch itself. Similar to the movements in yoga, this has the benefit of someone placing (forcing?) you into the positions – whether you want to get there or not. And remember those pressure points? Knees, elbows and knuckles might as well be spears, arrows and daggers. So once again, some promise here, but the pain involved is high. Pain as in I’ve cried. Yeah, I admit it. But there is an allure to it. Maybe people who like to overdo it in workouts are drawn to this painful method of treatment. I think I am.
Another Eastern Medicine. I really don’t understand how it works, and I am not sure if it worked for me or not. I started off by the practitioner examining my tongue – from across the room – and pronouncing that my liver was off and I was stressed. Okay, so I drink and I’m constantly sore from working out. I put all that on the forms, so I’m just gonna save that as a party trick for another time. As for the needles, I don’t really care for them. But they are so thin, I barely felt anything at all. The practitioner then left the room and said they would return in 20 minutes. I was a little worried about moving – cause I had needles poking out of me in all directions. But I quickly fell asleep. So deeply asleep, that I woke up completely disoriented and unsure where I was. Did I feel better? Not sure, but that was the best 20 minute nap of my life. More testing needed.
I had heard about this being used by NBA or NFL players. And since my career as a CPA / CFA(thlete) is pretty much the same thing, I thought I should give this a go. It was hard to find a freezing machine near me, but finally did about 20 minutes away. Entering the machine wearing boxers, socks and gloves – you spend all of three minutes in a nitrogen cooled chamber where you spin around every fifteen seconds or so. They say the machine gets to minus 200, but it feels kind of like if you ran outside on a really cold day. Quite uncomfortable, but so brief that it ends before you really care. For me, the 45 minute round-trip of driving makes the three minute treatment seem a hassle. But the results were good. On days I could barely walk in hobbled from a heavy squat-clean session, I walked out noticeably less sore. And your body kicks in with some adrenaline to combat the feeling of nearly freezing to death. So you are wide awake and disturbingly alert. I’ll do this again when I’m desperately sore.
- Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors must love the growth of the functional fitness movement. It is inevitable that when someone lives a predominantly sedentary office-worker life and then adds vigorous exercise to the mix that they will visit a Chiropractor at some point. And I have. I don’t use this for general soreness, but more so if I feel like I have strained something, or worse. I have actually tried more than one, and I think it is important to find someone who works for you. If you are not happy with their treatment methods, frequency of visits, or the outcome, you should try someone else. Ask around the gym. Chances are high that some (every) one has a Chiro. In general a good practitioner knows how the body is supposed to move and can likely assess what is going on with your situation better than you. So when you find a good practitioner, it can be a lifesaver. I will definitely keep this in the mix.
I recommend using a foam roller to get after your sore muscles – while it can be painful, it has numerous benefits (read up on all the details at Fit & Me and CrossFit Invictus). If you’re willing and able to pay for it, a massage can deliver many of those same benefits, and is quite a bit more enjoyable. Different types of massages have different goals. A “sports massage” can incorporate some of the guided movement and stretches like yoga or Thai Massage – minus the sharp elbows. Of course, a massage can be cost prohibitive, but once in a while at is splurge that is worth it. Sign me up.
So you can see I have tried quite a few methods in search of relief, and I’ve had some success. Of course, drinking more fluids, getting enough sleep, and taking some rest days also can help. But as long as I am giving it my all in the WOD, my body is going to be letting me know that I’m not 20, 30, or 40 anymore. And I am glad to have so many options when it comes to relief. Cause I’m not done.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Don’t be afraid to try something new
- Venture outside of your comfort zone
- Drink the proper amount of water
- Get more sleep